Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 29th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, March 30th, 1963 (The Ghost), Germany, 1961 (Dead Eyes of London)
Director: Riccardo Freda (The Ghost), Alfred Vohrer (Dead Eyes of London)
Writers: Oreste Biancoli, Riccardo Freda (The Ghost), Egon Eis (Dead Eyes of London)
Cast: Barbara Steele, Peter Baldwin, Elio Jotta, Harriet Medin (The Ghost), Ady Berber, Klaus Kinski, Karin Baal (Dead Eyes of London)
Approximate running time: 95 minutes (The Ghost)/ 100 minutes (Dead Eyes of London)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Retromedia
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
The Ghost: A woman murders her husband with the help of her lover the doctor who was taking care of her sickly husband. When mysterious things start to happen after her husband’s her own health starts to decline. Did her husband really die or is someone trying to push her over the edge?
The Ghost reunites Barbara Steele and director Riccardo Freda who had previously worked on the film The Frightening Secret of Dr. Hitchcock. Visually director Riccardo Freda fills the screen with vibrant colors and stylish photography. The two scenes that standout the most regarding Riccardo Freda’s direction is a scene where Margaret Hitchcock is shaving her crippled husband. The look in Margaret’s eyes and the way the camera frames the action showcase Freda’s exemplary skills at building suspense. The other scene that really grabs you by the throat once again involves Margaret and a razor. This time she uses it to carve up her lover. Freda slashes the screen with blood with each incision she makes.
In the lead role of Margaret Hitchcock is Barbara Steele who performance is nothing short of flawless. Barbara Steele starred in numerous horror films in the 1960’s like Black Sunday, The Pit and the Pendulum and Castle of Blood. It is a shame that she never fully embraced her work with in this genre since her performances are generally some of the best from any female leads of this era. Not to be too done is Elio Jotta in the role of Margaret’s husband. Elio Jotta’s performance is reminiscent of Dwight Frye’s performance as Renfield in Dracula. Harriet Medin is superb In the role of the maid. Most Italian horror films fans will recognize her from her many collaborations with Mario Bava (Black Sabbath, The Whip and the Body and Blood and Black Lace).
Ultimately The Ghost is a classic example of how a Gothic horror film should be.
Dead Eyes of London: Scotland Yard uncovers a plot where Rich elderly men who recently took out a large life insurance policy are being murdered by blind killer.
Dead Eyes of London is one of many “Krimi” German thrillers which were based on novels written by Edgar Wallace. Visually the film is expertly directed by Alfred Vohrer. The pacing drags along at a snail’s pace. The plot is filled with too many holes. If you can make it to the end the films conclusion is a nice coda to a flawed film. One of the films few shining moments is Klaus Kinski manic performance as a blind man. Another stand out performance is Ady Berber as the blind killer. Ultimately Dead Eyes of London fails to capitalize on its interesting premise.
The Ghost is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. The Ghost like many of Barbra Steele’s other films have been released in cropped and washed out transfer via budget label releases from companies like Alpha Video. Retro media’s transfer for the Ghost looks colorful, detailed and properly framed. Outside of some noticeable print damage that never becomes intrusive while watching the film.
The Ghost comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio has some minor hiss and distortion issues. Overall the audio while not without its draw backs is still more than adequate. Extras for the main feature The Ghost are limited to a theatrical trailer.
Dead Eyes of London is also presented in an anamorphic widescreen and the only audio option is a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Audio/video wise Dead Eyes of London is on par quality wise with The Ghost. Extras for Dead Eyes of London include a theatrical trailer and a still gallery. Overall Retromedia have given two films that have constantly been short changed on previous home video releases their best DVD release to date.